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Shelters for women victims of violence are too expensive, says Minister Duranceau

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France-Elaine Duranceau, Minister of Housing in the government of François Legault, affirms that the costs of construction projects for shelters for women victims of violence must be revised downwards so as to respect the capacity of pay taxpayers. (Archive photo)

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The costs of house construction projects to accommodate women victims of violence “are too high”, according to Quebec's Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, who says she has asked the Société d&#x27 ;housing of Quebec to look at it “from another angle”.

A week after associations of shelters for women victims of violence have criticized the government of François Legault for the delays and inconsistencies which delay or which completely put an end to projects to build such houses in the province, Minister Duranceau summarized in these terms Thursday the problem: the costs are too high.

During a press scrum in the corridors of the National Assembly, the Minister of Housing said she was aware of the particularities of projects to build shelters for women and their children victims of violence. She says she asked the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ) to look at the situation from another angle.

One of the criticisms formulated by the accommodation house associations targets the SHQ , who they accuse of treating said projects as social housing, when in fact they require flawless security, common and private spaces, offices for employees, facilities for children, etc.

On Thursday, France-Élaine Duranceau said she wanted to ensure that we respond to the needs of women and that we evaluate what it costs and what it should cost.

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In response to Liberal MP Brigitte Garceau who, on Thursday, challenged the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to assess how much the life of a woman victim of violence cost, the Minister of l'Habitation retorted that there was no value, no price on someone's life. That's not the question.

The question is to get housing out, both for vulnerable women and for our entire population who need housing.

A quote by France-Élaine Duranceau

We must ensure that these projects see the light of day ;#x27;within budgets that are reasonable, she insisted. Taxpayer money is not infinite.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties in Quebec joined their voices on Thursday with those of the associations to urge the government of François Legault to accelerate the construction of these new shelters.

According to three groups that oversee shelters, the creation of more than 600 places is in jeopardy due to of a considerable number of pitfalls caused by the inconsistency of funding programs, as described by Maud Pontel, coordinator of the Alliance des maison d' #x27;2nd stage accommodation (MH2).

This results in a hubbub between three ministries which do not seem not speak the same language, she decries.

For opposition deputies Brigitte Garceau, Ruba Ghazal and Joël Arseneau, the Legault government has broken the commitment it made in April 2021, while a wave of feminicides hit Quebec, as Mr. Arseneau of the Parti Québécois (PQ) recalled.

The Minister of Public Security at the time, Geneviève Guilbault, had made announcements, declared the MP for Îles-de-la-Madeleine. However, three years later, while people on the ground set up projects to open shelters, the government today seems to have made another call.

MP Garceau, of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), for her part, made a plea in favor of members of shelter associations who have, in certain cases, she said, engaged debts in their personal name to set up these house projects. It's inconceivable and aberrant, she protested, saying she was making it [her] personal fight.

Ruba Ghazal, from Québec solidaire, is calling for Minister Duranceau to unblock the projects by decree. It's already been done, she says.

Among the construction projects that are compromised, two of them are in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The Alternative pour Elles house in Rouyn-Noranda and the L'Émeraude house in La Sarre claim to have been asked by the SHQ to review their construction projects to reduce costs.

In the case of Alternative pour Elles, this second stage house project was very close to the goal, since its team was at the stage of signing the contract with a general contractor, according to its coordinator.

At the beginning of February, two ministers of the Legault government, Martine Biron and Chantal Rouleau, respectively responsible for the Status of Women and Social Solidarity and Community Action, inaugurated the Maison Gisèle-Pomerleau, in the ;#x27;east of Montreal. This second stage house offers affordable and safe transitional housing to women struggling with a violent ex-partner, after their stay in a first stage assistance and accommodation house.

It is mainly this type of house that appears in the government's portfolio, Minister Biron explained on Thursday, who said she is convinced that a way to finance them will be found to bring the projects currently on the table to fruition. We promised it and we will do it, she assured.

But Minister Biron added that it was normal, in a context where the cost of life increases, to question the costs that these projects entail.

In the case of the project of Rouyn-Noranda, she cited, they [the coordinators] knew it was difficult the amount they had and they did their job.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116